Ruins in Frangokastello

Frangokastello is a ruined 14th-century fortress, constructed soon after the Fourth Crusade (1204) by the Venetians, who sought a stronghold against pirates and Sfakiot warriors. The legendary Ioannis Daskalogiannis, who led a disastrous rebellion against Ottoman oppression in 1770, was persuaded to surrender at the fortress but was later flayed alive by the Turks. On 17 May 1828, 385 Cretan rebels made a last stand here in one of the bloodiest battles of the war for independence. About 800 Turks were killed along with the rebels.

Legend has it that at dawn each anniversary their ghosts, the drosoulites, can be seen marching along the beach. The name comes from the Greek word drosia meaning ‘moisture’, which may refer to the dawn moisture during the hours when the ghosts are said to appear.